Barry Lummis – A Tribute
By his friends, Brian Cook and Chris Hibbitt
Born on 9 October 1932, Barry attended primary and junior schools in Chelmsford and passed the 13 Plus Exam to go to the Mid Essex County Technical School. Leaving school in 1948 he joined his father as an apprentice coach trimmer and upholsterer at Youngs Coachworks in New London Road.
Barry was good at sport and played football, tennis and table tennis. A very capable goalkeeper he played some games for Chelmsford City Football Club Reserves although he mostly played for Galleywood and later Moulsham Lodge. He began National Service in late 1953 and for his second year he was posted to Japan. He enjoyed playing football, tennis and table tennis in that country. His defensive style of table tennis combined with using the ‘shake hand’ grip was certainly a different way of playing to the Japanese!
In January 1956 Barry was demobbed and returned to Chelmsford. Later that year he met Val and they were married in 1958. At first they lived in Chelmsford but early in the 1960’s they moved to Writtle. He joined Writtle Tennis Club and became an important member of the Team that played in the First Division of the Essex League. Barry was a founder member of the Writtle Table Tennis Club which started life at Longmeads in the mid-1960s. Initially it was just for social table tennis and Barry eventually joined the Chelmsford T.T.C. in 1969 to play in the Chelmsford League. Writtle joined the League in 1970 and Barry played in the ‘A’ Team which won Division 4. In the next 3 seasons they progressed to Division 1. He represented Chelmsford as a Veteran.
However, Barry did not just restrict himself to playing Table Tennis he also joined the League Committee in 1971 as Coaching Officer. According to the League Minutes covering the 1972 A.G.M. he was ‘thanked for his excellent efforts during his first year on the Management Committee’. In 1975 Barry became Competition Secretary and in 1977 he was appointed Divisional Secretary. In all roles Barry was commended for his considerable efforts and in 1978 he not only was the recipient of the Rosebery Pope & Smith Award but was also given Life Membership by the League. Barry and Val had also been heavily involved in the running of the Open Tournaments in Chelmsford in 1972 and 1973.
In 1980 Barry went self employed as a coach trimmer and upholsterer. This meant he had to move to a larger property in Witham. Unfortunately, not long after the move Val became seriously ill which left her disabled.
They were a devoted couple and this affected Barry’s ability to continue as Divisional Secretary. He retired from the role in 1982 to become Val’s carer. He continued to play table tennis where he was a valuable member of the Writtle Club but combined with the late finishes and his concerns for Val he finally retired from the game in 2009. He finished on a high note as in his last match he was a member of the Writtle Team which won the Handicap Knockout Cup that year.
He had started playing golf in 1996 and although only playing socially he enjoyed himself greatly. However, his sight began to fail and with the onset of Parkinsons he eventually had to retire gracefully from all sporting activities.
Val died suddenly in February 2017 and with Barry now virtually blind he went to live in a care home. He died peacefully in his sleep on 20 December 2019.
In his earlier school reports Barry was described as ‘quiet and well mannered’. In his last school report, he was described as ‘absolutely honest and reliable and should do well and develop into a capable craftsman’. In his demob report it was said he was a ‘good organizer’. How right they were! He was a good Club member with a dry sense of humour. A pleasure to play alongside. He rarely lost his temper and he was always sporting in defeat. It is a shame we will not see the running backhand again. He will be missed by both his family, his many friends and opponents!
Barry’s funeral service will be held on Thursday, 30 January 2020, at Chelmsford Crematorium starting at 2.30pm. All are welcome to attend.